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The Greenlight Initiative

A CLOSER LOOK --

January 24, 2000

said he hopes that the City Council will fix this through language in the

initiative that allows the city to adopt guidelines for implementing the

new law once passed.

However, City Manager Homer Bludau said because the cumulative aspect is

such a fundamental part of the measure, the City Council simply can't

"fix" it by adopting an implementation guideline as the proponents

suggested.

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TRAFFIC TROUBLES

The biggest reason thousands of residents signed the Greenlight petition

is because of the promise of a solution to what they believe is a growing

traffic problem in the city.

Both sides agree that the sources of traffic are residents driving to and

from their homes and businesses, commuters who drive through the city on

a daily basis and tourists who come for the city's beaches and large

pleasure harbor.

While the measure, by stopping development, could freeze the traffic from

residents and businesses, it does not address the other two sources.

And while the perception among residents' activists clearly is that

traffic congestion in Newport Beach is out of control, others argue that,

compared to most cities in the state and even the county, traffic here is

a breeze.

Another argument against the notion that Greenlight will put the brakes

on traffic is that developers could simply take their proposals to an

adjacent city and build there. Newport Beach would not get any of the tax

money, but would be stuck with the ever-increasing traffic problem as

people will undoubtedly always drive through the city.

Beek said at least the initiative would address one element of the

problem. He said the city could deal with the increasing traffic in a

number of ways, including keeping narrow streets to discourage commuters

or building overpasses to ease the burden.

However, the question remains: Where would the money come from to pay for

roadwork if there is a moratorium on development?

Among other sources, Beek suggested state money.

DISRUPTING DEMOCRACY?The red flag city leaders have been waving is

that the measure disrupts the democratic process of elected government.

O'Neil argued that he hires state and national representatives because he

doesn't have the time and may not have the background to make educated

legislative decisions. Vice mayor Gary Adams added that residents already

have the right to overturn council decisions they don't agree with

through the referendum process.

This measure would completely change the way Newport government operates,

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